Sunshine, Fresh Air, Exercise: Bone Mineralization and Happiness

The sun is the source for all life on this planet; it connects us to our food, the earth, and life itself. Sunlight gives us vitamin D, a chemical that is actually produced in our bodies when we expose cholesterol in our skin to the sun. Upon exposure to sunlight, a substance within our skin is changed into pre-vitamin D. Our liver and kidneys convert this pre-vitamin D to its active hormone form. The hormone vitamin D binds to portions of our cells, called receptors, which allows for normal gene expression and cellular function.

Research shows that vitamin D plays a role in thyroid function, prostate and breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, irritable bowel disease, as well as osteoporosis. In addition to maintaining normal blood calcium and phosphorus levels, active vitamin D also calms inflammation, which allows for these minerals to stay in the bones. At latitudes above the 35th parallel (Oklahoma City, OK; Raleigh, NC; and Bakersfield, CA) from about October through April, the sun’s rays are at angles that are insufficient to produce significant vitamin D synthesis in our bodies.

Also, in the summertime, sunscreens with a sun protection factor of 8 or greater will block UV rays that produce vitamin D. Natural food sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, wild salmon, lard, and egg yolk, though supplementation is usually needed in the winter months. Breathing fresh air during deep breathing or exercising relaxes our bodies and clears our minds. Breathing in deeply, we take in life—oxygen—which energizes our cells and increases our metabolism. Oxygen is needed at the cellular level to properly metabolize the energy from our food.

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Exercise increases your heart rate and breathing, thereby increasing your blood flow to bring needed nutrients to every cell in your body. Exercise builds muscle mass, which is needed to maintain an optimum metabolism and healthy weight. In addition, daily exercise, in combination with sun exposure or vitamin D supplementation, increases bone mineralization, thus significantly decreasing the risk for osteoporosis later in life. Daily exercise and fresh air provide a deep sense of relaxation, and in this state, you will be able to reconnect with your body more easily

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